The Retail Gazette recently reported ‘Why is fashion being left in grocery’s dust?’
The fashion market has not put its best foot forward in the first quarter of 2017. Although the success of online retailers such as Boohoo and Missguided doesn’t seem to be slowing, with Boohoo share prices steadily increasing and Missguided making bold moves in the “bricks and mortar” arena opening its first flagship store. It seems overall the UK high street is struggling, Drapers suggests long time favourite Topshop is ‘losing its shine’ as it competes to stay relevant in the UK market and retailers such as Blue Inc, Jones Bootmaker and Brantano are facing administration, the outlook for the UK fashion high street for 2017 is looking bleak.
However the same cannot be said for our Supermarkets. Combined sales of the leading four UK supermarkets, which account for 70 per cent of grocery sales, grew by 0.5 per cent year-on-year in the 12 months to February 26. Kantar Worldpanel revealed that supermarket sales have grown at their fastest rate since 2014. And despite the popularity of value retailers, Sainsburys, Tesco, Morrison’s and Asda still remain the top 4 Supermarkets in the UK.
As footfall in retail parks falls are consumers keener to spend a weekend in their kitchen rather than their local shopping complex?
I think it’s also fair to say the rise of food and lifestyle bloggers such as Joe Wicks, Clean Eating Alice and The Hemsley Sisters are making food fashionable and have increased interest in healthy eating and ‘meal prep’.
The retail gazette reported Fiona Scott, the chief executive of customer engagement agency PSONA, believes people now regard their grocery shop as an extension of their lifestyle.
“In a world where we’re not due for a real pay rises for the next fifteen years, it’s clear that purchases from high end sectors – including fashion – are becoming harder to justify,” she said.
“Your choice of breakfast, organic ingredients or clean eating cook books are as much of a status indicator, than any brand of designer bag or high street jacket.”
Although food is not the only area supermarkets are succeeding, sales at TU for Sainsburys are up 0.5% and Morrison’s have just launched first womenswear collection. Kantar Worldpanel reports that supermarket fashion accounts for £1 of every £10 spent and 23% of items bought.
In a time of uncertainty in the UK it is reasonable to understand how cautious shoppers may opt for a “smaller luxury food purchase such as an exclusive brand of coffee or a gourmet chocolate bar” over an expensive outfit.
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